Nine years, nine straight trips to the B.C. A High School Boys Volleyball championships for the Vernon Christian School Royals.
Chris Bannick’s crew qualified for this year’s tournament Nov. 26 to 28 in Abbotsford by placing third at the Okanagan Valley finals in Kelowna.
“The boys are coming together but we still have some inconsistencies that we need to clean up,” said Bannick. “With a few more practices this week, we should be good to go at provincials, and I’m sure we will play a better game.”
In pool play, the Royals beat Kamloops Christian Eagles 25-10, 25-20, but then ran into a much stronger squad from Kelowna Christian, losing to the Knights 25-11, 25-20.
In the quarterfinals, VCS defeated a defensive-minded Charles Bloom Timberwolves squad from Lumby, 25-11, 23-25, 15-6. Player of the match Mason Pool deflected a loose ball into the Wolves’ court to secure the win.
Outside hitter Caleb Haberstock led the team with 10 kills in 14 opportunities while middle Landon Matties chipped in seven.
In the semifinals, the Royals came up against a familiar opponent, North Zone champion Revelstoke Avalanche, and fell 25-13, 25-22. Back row specialist Brian Ferguson had a solid game in the loss.
“Both Revelstoke and KCS are just a bit more polished and less prone to errors than us at the moment,” said Bannick.
In the bronze medal game, the Royals swept the Clearwater Raiders 25-14, 25-16. Haberstock had eight kills, Matties added six, three solo blocks and one block assist and middle Jacob Molitwenik chipped in with four kills. Setter Brennan Seltzer had 18 assists.
Haberstock was team MVP for the Royals, who are ranked ninth for the provincials.
The Vernon Panthers and Seaton Sonics are hosting Okanagan Valley girls championships this weekend.
The Panthers will be joined by the Seaton senior girls at the Okanagan AAA championships, which begin Friday at noon when the Sonics play Okanagan Mission Huskies. The Panthers open at 1:15 p.m. against the South Kamloops Titans.
The championship game is Saturday at 3 p.m. The Panthers will also host the B.C. AAA girls finals Dec. 2-5.
Seaton hosts the Okanagan junior girls finals starting Friday at 2 p.m. when the hosts take on Kelowna Secondary. The Kalamalka Lakers are also part of the eight-team field and open at 2 p.m. Friday against the Mt. Boucherie Bears.
The final is Saturday at 2 p.m.
Seaton is sending four teams to Okanagan championships.
The senior girls are 26-8 overall and ranked No. 9 in the province.
“We have a very well-rounded roster and attack,” said coach Rich Haldane. “We hope to finish top-three and get a berth to the provincials at VSS.”
The junior girls won the North Zone championship in Revelstoke, defeating Kal in the final, 25-20, 25-11. Rose Harned took control of the backcourt, delivering several good passes to setter Kalli Hamilton-Gee. Alyssa Racine made several big kills. Kal fought back until Dana Kievit ended the slide with several smart attacks and well-placed serves.
Gabby Triggs had a strong second set at setter for the Sonics, who advanced to the final with a 25-10, 25-4 win over Enderby’s A.L. Fortune Falcons, thanks to strong serving from Maddy Roemer and Ella Oduro, several key kills from Wynter Vanderveen, Hannah McCaaffrey and Maisa Orosz and a strong game from Mason Christensen.
Seaton junior boys will compete in the Okanagan finals this weekend in Penticton after finishing second at the North Zone finals, losing out to VSS.
After finishing first in regular-season play, the Sonics won the right to host the zones and opened against Vernon Christian School Royals, winning 25-12, 25-16. Nakoda Parker and Trent Graham served well for the Sonics, Landen Harison set the ball very well and Ben Poulin and Simon Ufimzeff were strong on the outside attack.
In the final against the Panthers, the Sonics struggled to pass the ball under a well-orchestrated VSS attack, falling 25-12, 25-21. Noah Schneider led Seaton with some excellent play.
The senior boys join Fulton at the Okanagan AA championships in Kamloops.
Fulton won the North Zone title, beating Seaton 20-25, 25-19, 28-26, 25-15.
“I am very proud of how the players responded to such an important match,” said Sonics head coach Fane Triggs. “Winning the first set was very important to the team because our goal was to start strong. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result that we had hoped for, but Fulton is a very strong team.”
Troy Atkinson brought his game to the next level for the Sonics, consistently scoring points in key moments.
Kal, Fulton and the Pleasant Valley Saints of Armstrong are at the Okanagan AA girls championships starting Friday in Lake Country.